BACARRA, ILOCOS NORTE — Alyssa Valdez and Jia Morado were clutch as Creamline weathered the storm to take Game One of the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference finals in five sets against Chery Tiggo, 25-15, 25-21, 18-25, 19-25, 15-7 at the PCV Socio-Civic and Cultural Center, Wednesday night.
Alyssa Valdez — who poured four points in the winner-take-all fifth set — ended up with 21 points all of which came from attacks.
After gutting out huge victories in the third and fourth sets, the Crossovers were on the right track to seal the reverse sweep after Dindin Santiago-Manabat opened the decider with a powerful hit.
But that seemed to be the end of Chery Tiggo’s comeback as the duo of Valdez and Tots Carlos pumped life to the Cool Smashers — kick-starting a 6-0 blast for the 6-1 advantage.
Shaya Adorador, Jaja Santiago, and Rachel Austero tried to keep Chery Tiggo afloat.
However, it was not enough to foil Valdez’s heroics.
The former PVL MVP delivered a kill for an 11-5 advantage late in the clincher, before unleashing another bomb to put her side a couple of points away from clinching the match.
Jia Morado aided her squad with a booming ace before Valdez went for the jugular, securing the 1-0 series advantage for Creamline off a beautiful combination play.
The Cool Smashers are now a game away from winning the first-ever professional volleyball title in the country.
“We’re just really thankful na everything worked for us during the fifth set. Siyempre we really can’t count out Chery Tiggo and alam naman namin ‘yun,” said Valdez after the win.
Carlos unloaded a game-high 26 points off 22 attacks, three blocks, and an ace while Jema Galanza provided the all-around help with 17 points, 18 excellent digs, and 13 excellent receptions.
Morado’s stellar playmaking produced 41 excellent sets on top of seven points for Creamline.
“But we’re just really blessed na lahat talaga all in, talaga yung mindset namin is to give our all during the fifth set and nakita naman natin. Hopefully, mabaon namin lahat ng magaganda and maiwan namin lahat ng mistakes namin in today’s game,” said Valdez.
Santiago’s 25-point outing went down the drain as the Crossovers failed to complete is comeback bid.
Santiago-Manabat finished with 19 points in the loss while Adorador collected nine markers, 12 digs, and 11 receptions.
The Rebisco-backed squad took the first two sets convincingly, before Austero and Elaine Kasilag provided the spark for the Crossovers to snatch the third set and eventually, the fourth to send the series to a clincher.
Creamline looks to clinch the championship tomorrow, Thursday at 5:00 PM while Chery Tiggo will try to extend its tournament life.